St Francis' Church on the corner of Lonsdale Street and Elizabeth Street, is the oldest Catholic church in Victoria, Australia. The main body of the church (with various later additions) is one of very few buildings in central Melbourne which was built before the Victorian gold rush of 1851.
On April 28, 1839 a committee of the Catholics at Port Philip, who customarily met for prayer in the house of Peter Bodecin, wrote Bede Polding, vicar-apostolic of New Holland, Van Diemen's Land and the adjoining islands, requesting a priest. Polding sent Father Patrick Geoghegan O.F.M., who had arrived from Dublin the previous December. Geoghegan landed at Williamstown on May 15. He was the first resident Catholic priest in the Port Phillip District of New South Wales.
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